Posts Tagged ‘iContact’


Presentation for the NCSU Student MBA Association

February 7, 2012 | Raleigh, North Carolina — It’s always a pleasure speaking to students eager to learn from experienced marketing professionals, but it’s especially nice to assist faculty at NC State and North Carolina Central University — both of which I have attended.

I was invited to speak to the NCSU Student MBA Association Monday afternoon on behalf of iContact.  The requested topic was on how digital marketing, trends and technologies have changed the marketing landscape as a whole — a topic I am quite passionate about, and truly enjoy discussing.

While I assumed it would be the typical intimate crowd for events such as this, I was pleasantly surprised to walk into a packed room at Nelson Hall. In fact, the organizers of the event stated afterward that it was their most attended presentation to date. More importantly, the students all left energized and enlightened by both the iContact story, and the digital marketing tools and services we provide our clients with.

Topics Discussed During the “Town Hall” Style Session:

  • Experiences of an Online Community Manager
  • The “iContact Story” — My Experiences and Lessons Learned in a Technology Startup
  • Agile-based Development
  • Structure of an Integrated Marketing Organization
  • Marketing Considerations for Nonprofits

In addition, we spent a little time chatting about the personal sacrifices of working in the digital marketing industry, specifically about social media engagement.  True community managers and  engagement specialists are on duty 24/7. It’s a delicate task managing your work-life balance, but it’s critical to becoming a successful online marketing manager.  Many practitioners fall victim to burn-out and lose performance or their creative edge when the balance is lost.  Situations involving crisis communications are often the truest test of the longevity of an online marketing manager.

While the town hall discussion was relatively short (compared to the 3.5 hour workshops I’ve grown accustomed to), the MBA students in attendance all seemed to really enjoy the candid and relaxed conversation, and the steady inquiries and discussion benefited all in attendance. Overall, it was a great experience to kickoff my 2012 presentation season.

Special thanks to Jillanne Kirby of NCSU’s Jenkins School of Management, for inviting me to speak to their students, and I look forward to working with NCSU again in the near future.


Awarded All 5 iContact “WOWME” Letters!

Today, I finally earned all 5 Gold iContact WOWME letters (18 Stickers worth), w00t! w00t! :)


In an effort to recognize the hard work, passion and dedication of our team members, iContact instituted the WOW Awards Program. This program is based on our 5 Company Values: WOW the Customer, Operate with Urgency, Without Mediocrity, Make a Positive Wake, and Engage as an Owner.

Awards are based on nominations submitted by fellow team members, and are awarded based on a specific value embodied by the nominee.

It takes three stickers (nominations) per value (letter) to earn your GOLD letter for each value. Three “O” stickers equals a Gold “O” pin. :)

2010 Conference & Public Policy Forum for North Carolina’s Nonprofit Sector

Luncheon at the 2010 Statewide Conference for North Carolina’s Nonprofit Sector, hosted by the NC Center for Nonprofits.

On September 29th, the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits hosted a two-day conference for North Carolina Nonprofits. The conference consisted of two days packed with new ideas, timely information, and great networking!  It also included in-depth Wednesday workshops, three rounds of concurrent sessions, Lunch with Grantmakers, Executive Director/CEO Forum, Curbside Consultants, The Nonprofit Marketplace, and more!

iContact exhibited at the conference, as part of the Nonprofit Marketplace, an opportunity for consultants, businesses, and organizations that provide products and services to the nonprofit sector to showcase their offerings to Conference attendees.

Our goal was not to “sell” our product, but to inform them that we provide all North Carolina 501(c)(3) nonprofits with free iContact accounts for up to 10,000 email subscribers, as part of our 4-1s Corporate Social Responsibility Program.

During the conference, my colleague Matt Kopac and I, had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of nonprofits in need of email marketing services, and we were happy to provide them with pro bono accounts.

This conference marked the first true acquisition effort in regards to the 1% of Product, as defined by iContact’s 4-1′s Corporate Social Responsibility Program. It was a truly exciting and memorable conference for both of us, and I look forward to continuing to support our local North Carolina Nonprofit organizations for years to come.


Mark Cuban at Local Tech Wire’s Executive Exchange

I recently had the honor of meeting Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, and HDNet.  This remarkable opportunity occurred at the Local Tech Wire Executive Exchange at Bay 7 in Durham, NC.

Mark is an inspiration to all entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs alike.  Sporting a casual golf shirt amongst a sea of suits, Mark made every effort to speak to each and every attendee at the event.  He was honest, sincere, and genuinely engaged in every micro-conversation he found himself in.  To say that Mark Cuban is an inspiration is to say the very minimum about his character and sincerity.

I was further honored to have filmed several interviews with Mark Cuban, including an interview by iContact Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Aaron Houghton.

Mark Cuban & James Wong

While the noise in Bay 7 was quite notable, Mark Cuban’s message about persistence, patience, and being honest with one’s self was unmistakably clear.

As those individuals lucky enough to have attended this special event can attest, Mark was quite adamant about his “Rules” of successful entrepreneurship.

The following are the Twitter “notes” I was broadcasting  LIVE throughout the event.

    • At LocalTechWire’s Executive Exchange. iContact Co-Founder @AaronWHoughton will be on a panel with Mark Cuban today. Come find us! :)


    • Just finished interviewing Mark Cuban and @AaronWHoughton at Local Techwire’s Executive Exchange, Venture Capital Symposium.


    • A good sales person always continues to learn. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and strive for success. @mCuban at #TechWire


    • Strategy & Vision: The real Challenge is to write down and keep track of all the ideas that come to mind. #Techwire @AaronWHoughton


    • According to @mCuban, we are not a country of investors anymore. Today’s market is all about financial engineering. #techwire


    • Large companies are afraid of going public, due to scrutiny, and it’s almost impossible for small companies to go public. @mCuban #techwire


    • RT @waynesutton The country was built on education + innovation and we’re not investing into innovation anymore #techwire


    • Social Networking: An efficient way to communicate dialogue & passions w/ supporters. @mCuban uses it to “learn everything!” #Techwire


    • According to @mCuban, Facebook has become a typical consumer’s new “homepage.” | Privacy is dead | Lack of integration = Death. #TechWire


    • Cloud Computing, Smart Grid Power Technology, Wireless Bandwidth, & Mobile may be the industries to watch over the next 5 years. #TechWire


    • Don’t worry about what you’re doing. Identify aspects of what you do, that you love best, & power that passion to drive success. #TechWire


    • Some of the most successful entrepreneurs went from job to job, learning new skills and principals of hard work, to be successful. #TechWire


    • The best equity when starting up a company, is sweat equity. @mCuban considers VCs as “Vulture Capitalists.” #TechWire


    • What is the absolute cheapest way to start your business? Instill a frugal foundation = larger profit margins, and retains equity. #TechWire


    • Rule #1: Do everything in your power to NOT raise money. Retain ownership and equity! @mCuban #TechWire



    • Rule #2: Sales Cure All. If a CEO/Owner isn’t comfortable selling, how can you expect your team to? Be willing to WORK. @mCuban #TechWire


    • Rule #3: Ideas are the easy part. Preparation and follow-through is the tough part. Dedication & Hard Work equals success. @mCuban #TechWire


    • Rule #4 & #5: Don’t lie to yourself, be brutally honest, or you’ll sell yourself short… Re-Earn your customers EVERYDAY! @mCuban #TechWire


    • Culture and taking care of your TEAM, results in higher morale and dedication. Hence, resulting in higher productivity. @mCuban #TechWire



TABJNC “Making News” Media Access Workshop

The Triangle Association of Black Journalists (TABJ) is an organization of reporters, editors, photographers, and other media professionals working in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., metropolitan area. The TABJ is an affiliate chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

As an honorary member of the Triangle Association of Black Journalists, it was an honor participating on their panel of experts at the 4th Annual TABJ “Making News” Media Access Workshop on July 8, 2010.

Why Support the TABJ?

Ever since meeting some of their members at local tweet-ups and social media events, I have been honored to have served on several panel discussions for the TABJ.  This is an organization comprised of the same industry professionals we’ve all grow accustomed to watching on the various news programs in the Triangle area — including the writers that fill the pages of our favorite local papers with their creative penmanship.

After meeting individuals like Gayle Hurd, Ken Smith, and many other News Media professionals at a TABJ Social Mixer a few years back, I quickly realized that the community of local reporters and journalists weren’t being provided the same level of access to industry professionals that other groups had access to.  While some media professionals were adapting to the latest communications technologies and trends, most others had not. As the world became more and more digitally connected, especially on social media channels, it became more apparent that the media was quickly being left behind.

My decision to dedicate myself to helping the TABJ was one of mutual respect, and my own personal way of giving back to the media professionals I’ve respected for decades.

The 4th Annual TABJ “Making News” Media Access Workshop

The workshop was organized by the TABJ, in cooperation with the RDU Chapter of the National Black MBA Association, and was a collaborative setting which allowed panelists and audience members to learn in a group setting, while encouraging open communication and creative thinking unseen at most other industry workshops and conferences.  The purpose of the workshop was to share information on ways to work with the media, as well as to get coverage on television, radio and in print.

The audience was comprised mainly of local non-profit organizations and other small business owners, while the panel consisted of local media and business professionals (myself included) who shared our expertise on newsgathering and working with the public on developing news stories, talk show segments, public service announcements and initiatives as well as commercial advertising.

Offering Value to Local Businesses and Non-Profits

Audience members learned how to work with news organizations, write effective press releases and public service announcements,  as well as learn the best ways to get their story covered and gain much needed publicity for their organization and its events.  Attendees learned about other means and outlets available to get publicity including public service announcements, social media, commercials and online media.

Confirmed Speakers Included:

  • James Wong, Communications Manager of iContact
  • Gurnal Scott, WPTF-AM News Anchor/Reporter
  • Brett Chambers, NC Central University Communications Instructor & RDU Black MBA President
  • Ken Smith, WRAL-TV/Fox 50 Reporter/Anchor
  • Stan Chambers, Durham Reporter at The News and Observer

The moderator for the event was WTVD-TV Reporter and Anchor, Anthony Wilson.

For more information about this and future events, email,, or visit .